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03-23-2014, 05:13 AM
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lordsmurf lordsmurf is offline
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I was looking at some backups today, and I found one of the earliest versions of this site, thought to have been lost for years. (Now all I need is some 2002 backups!) A mere 6 weeks later, this site became part of something bigger, and has been digitalFAQ.com ever since.

Copy of homepage from 10+ years ago


General information...

1. Site completion. I'm trying to get it perfected and finalized. This stuff just takes time. Most guides are complete. Some are still beta versions, but the information available is still useful.

2. How to do video the LordSmurf way. Click here to see a brief run-down on the programs and methods I use in making my personal DVD collection. It is complete from source to final disc.

3. Donations appreciated. This site is paid for out of my own pocket. If any of this information has helped you, even a lowly Paypal payment of $2 would be appreciated. More would be nice too. Click here to make a donation.

4. Submitted quote. "Working with digital video is akin to experimental witchcraft."

5. LordSmurf's services. If you have have a video that is proving difficult to capture, or buying a TBC or high-end VCR is not a viable options, I offer restoration and conversion services. Prices depend on length and severity. I can also repair malfunctioning Pioneer DVD-R drives and can upgrade/hack the firmware, even on the most stubborn of drives.

6. Viewing problems. If your firewall is set too high, if your Internet/LAN settings are customized to block most connections, or you have a pop-up blocker, some of this site may not function properly. Please reduce the firewall level to normal levels, allow cookies and Javascripts, and disable the pop-up blocker. Old browsers are known to crash due to the site security. Netscape 6 or higher and IE 5.5 or higher are all that I support, as that is 98% of the viewing audience. Site is IE optimized.

7. For those that know:

Free Samples

Alright. I hear it all the time. "Your guides look fine, but I tried them, and my stuff looks bad. I guess you're just happy with inferior quality." Well, that's simply not true. And to prove it, I'll be putting up samples of everything I do. Menus, video clips, audio clips, DVD cases, etc.

Click here for a 352x480 MPEG-2 VBR (3.42MB/s average, 3.70MB/s max) clip of X-MEN Evolution as captured directly from DirecTV using my ATI AIW card. You should burn it onto a DVD-RW or DVD+RW to actually see the true interlaced quality on a tv set. The clip is about 10 seconds long and is 4MB in size. Fast-action scenes are used. It is video only (no audio) to cut down on file size.

Also remember that this site is merely "guides" on how to get you up and running with good quality. While the settings on this site are the most common ones I use myself, I do have numerous templates for capturing and editing.

Why did I make this site?

This site was created specifically for cartoon and television show collectors. Many of the settings are geared towards the goal of converting and restoring VHS to DVD. I made this site for collectors, not necessarily techs. Therefore, the programs and equipment used is the most user-friendly stuff that exists, without harming quality.

The entire site was written and created by me, LordSmurf. However, much of this knowledge would not have been possible without the collaborative efforts of friends, fellow cartoon collectors, and several members of dvdrhelp.com. And the number one reason I made this site is because my memory is admittedly not perfect. It's easier to remember things when you write them down. But instead of notes in my desk, I thought the rest of the world would appreciate seeing my notes too. This video stuff isn't easy! So enjoy!

Video News - Shopping Deals - LordSmurf's Rants

1. Shopping deals. Looking for deals? Visit www.pricegrabber.com, www.pricewatch.com, www.newegg.com, www.techbargains.com and www.bensbargains.net.

2. MP3 Player. Interested in a good MP3 player no bigger than a pack of gum, weighs less than an ounce, plays WMA too, acts as a 64MB USB thumb drive, and costs under $60? Look into getting yourself a Creative MuVo 64. Wal-mart carries the 32MB version for $50.

3. Free stuff. Alright, I just have to give a good review to www.bensbargain.net. I've managed to subscribe to 20 magazines for about $25 total, with most of them being absolutely free, and have found several items that I never imagined could be so cheap. This guy Ben deserves a handshake. However, be aware that not all his deals are the best around, just many of them.

4. Your civil rights are in danger! Go to the Electronic Frontier Foundation and sign their petitions, www.eff.org. The petitions go directly to your congressmen. End this corporate stupidity surrounding Kazaa, MPAA, RIAA and DirecTV. What's next? This is ludicrous. I'll all about following the laws, but these companies are not paying attention to out rights and their adherence to the law is suspect. Rather than letting these old fogies in the House and Senate guess at what the people want, let's tell them ourselves!
See item #3 above -- the one about the freebies? Because of Ben's, I still have a subscription to Maxim ... that expires in 2016.

I also finally found my long-lost VHS/S-VHS blank tapes guide from the late 90s. Now I can put it back!


So what's the big deal about tapes?
Tapes can be tricky things, and may very well determine the quality of your shows. When buying a tape, you must consider its lifetime, it's thickness and durability, and its natural tendencies to hold color, to be grainy, to hold tracking, and to retain sound. Although 99% of my trades are VHS, I have included some facts about S-VHS tapes as well. If a tape brand is not listed here, let me know, and I'll see if I know anything about it.

What about the video equipment?
Better equipment makes better tapes. Period. Only use 4-head HiFi equipment, preferably something in the professional line.

If you bought it in any store, then it is not professional equipment. Pro-line equipment MUST be mail ordered from a video-audio-camera company like CameraWorld.com. No exceptions, no matter how 'expensive' it may be.

A GoVideo machine is NOT professional, nor is it even good consumer equipment. If you have one of these, then you are most likely making bad tapes. They break down in a matter of months, and are terrible at making EP tapes. Many tapes off of a GoVideo machine, no matter what model it is, have a hard time being tracked in most VCRs. They tend to ADD video errors to the signal and are no better than hooking up two high-end consumer VCRs. If you think differently, just give the piece of junk another couple of months.

If you do not wish to spend thousands of dollars, then I highly suggest 4-head HiFi stereo Panasonic or Sharp VCRs linked together with gold RCA cables. Or spend an extra $50 and get a low-end S-VHS VCR, as those have filters that can actually improve video quality. Link these either via S-video and/or RCA cables.

SP vs. EP mode:
All tapes have quality information about both SP and EP/SLP modes, as it can differ. Please note that it is only consumer-end VCRs that make EP look bad, and it is a common problem. Professional equipment has all kinds of extra machinery, and makes all modes look about the same. Only make EP tapes if it looks good on another brand of VCR than the one it was made on.

T-120 vs. T-160 and other lengths:
Another consideration to make is the length. T-120 tapes are the best to use, as most other lengths stretch out the tapes or use thinner tape to fit in the cassette. T-160 is pushing it, but anything longer is not going to last, and may potentially snap apart someday in your VCR. T-120 are also cheaper and easy to copy, as video equipment tends to overheat after about 5 hours. Overheated equipment is the major reason tapes get ruined or "eaten" by the VCR.


Sony V Standard & Sony V HG: In SP mode these hold color very well, do not increase grain factors, hold steady tracking, and can be bought for about $12 for a 10-pack at Walmart. In EP mode, these are terrible tapes on non-professional equipment, as they amplify grain.

JVC SX & JVC EHG : These guys invented VHS, and the quality of their tapes shows. In both SP and EP modes, these are great tapes, holding color, minimal grain difference, etc. Sony still looks better for SP mode, but these will work if you're stuck. These are a bargain at $8 for a 12-pack at SAM's Wholesale Club.

Maxell Gold: These are great tapes for SP, but tend not to hold tracking very well in EP mode. Always keeps color, very good at keeping sound, and does not add grain. Only drawback is that a 3-pack is about $8. Please note that these are the older Maxell formulas, and the newer Maxell HG tapes are cheaply made.

Maxell Silver: These are the same as Maxell Gold, except that they add a small amount of noticeable grain. Once again, this is the old formula Maxell, and the newer Maxell Standard tapes are cheaply made. These are found for $6 for a 5-pack at Walmart.

TDK EHG: These are beautiful tapes when it comes to color retention. These are all around excellent for all modes, keeping tracking, color, grain, etc. These are even good for S-VHS-ET mode in SP or EP modes, as they have excellent grain control, adding almost no grain, much like Sony in SP mode. Only drawback is price, which is $7 for a 3-pack at Walmart of Best Buy.

FUJI HQ: These add minimal grain, almost unnoticeable, but have a long life, and hold tracking well. Color could have better saturation, but overall a good tape. Average tape with an average price of about $5 for a 3-pack at Walgreens, Eckerds, or Target.

BAD VHS Tapes:

RCA: These suck. These are cheaply made thin tapes, and add a bit of grain, similar to Sony in EP mode. In SP mode they lose tracking terribly. They do hold color, and will last a year or two, but break down in just a few years time. Cheap at about 90-cents apiece.

MGM & Zenith & Magnavox: These are all made by the same tape company, and they all suck. These are thin, lose color badly, are unpredictable at tracking, break apart quickly, and add lots of chunky grain. Cheap at about 75-cents apiece.

Memorex: These are thin, and do not last many years. Tracking is also unpredictable. Color and grain are fine, but with all the other problems, not worth the effort. Cheap at about $7 for a 10-pack at Best Buy.

Fuji Pro: I know what you're thinking. "What? Fuji PRO is worse than the standard grade Fuji HQ?!" And the answer is YES. Fuji Pro adds LOTS of chunky grain, especially bad at EP mode.

Maxell Standard and Hi-Grade: These lose a little color and add grain. They also rip apart in a short amount of time. These are not the same formulas as the tapes they replaced, the Silver and Gold higher grade Maxell versions. Cheap at about a dollar apiece.

Maxell Bronze: These lose a little color and add grain. Not a bad tape, but not as good as the Silver and Gold higher grade Maxell versions. Cheap at about 75-cents apiece.

Other bad tapes: Pretty much anything with a no-name or store brand is a bad tape. Blockbuster tapes and Target tapes are an example of a bad store-name tape.


Fuji: These are recommended by almost everyone that uses S-VHS. They hold color and grain at all modes, and have a very long life. All around excellent tapes. About $10 each via mail order.

TDK: Personally untested, but comes with good recommendations. Not too expensive at $16 for a 2-pack at Best Buy.

Sony: Personally untested, but comes with good recommendations. About $12 each via mail order, and it comes with a hard case.

BAD S-VHS Tapes:

Maxell: Great color, grain, tracking, etc. But the tape is thin, and does not have much of a lifetime. Too many times I have had to re-master a tape because it ripped apart in my editing equipment. Avoid these if possible. You get what you pay for. Cheap at $13 for a 2-pack.
That's been bugging me for years!

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03-23-2014, 05:20 AM
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lordsmurf lordsmurf is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 10,682
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Here's the site menu...

Most of this is still on the site, either as guides on migrated to forum posts in early 2004.

- Understanding your source
- VCR and TBC suggestions
- AVI vs. MPEG capture
- Capture software and resolution
- Interlaced vs. De-interlaced
- Capturing AVI with an ATI card
- Capturing AVI with non-ATI cards
- Capturing MPEG with an ATI card
- Capturing MPEG with non-ATI cards
- DV capturing FAQ and myths
- How to avoid dropped frames

- Understanding your source
- Convert using ProCoder
- Convert using TMPGEnc Plus
- Convert VCD to DVD

- Removing Commercials in MPEG
- Editing a finished DVD
- Adobe Premiere guides by Wrigley

- FAQ and error glossary
- Hardware requirements
- Intro guide: scenarios
- TMPGEnc Video Filters
- ProCoder Video Filters
- VirtualDub/CCE/AVIsynth Filters
- ATI VideoSoap
- LordSmurf's restoration services

- FAQ and troubleshooting
- SoundForge Audio Filters
- DartPro Audio Filters

- Authoring FAQ
- Multiple VTS
- AC3 vs. PCM vs. MP2

- Author DVD: DVDit! PE
- Author DVD: TMPGEnc DVD Author
- Burn DVD: Nero
- Burn DVD: TMPGEnc DVD Author
- Burn VCD-SVCD-CVD: Nero

- DVD9: Decrypter/DVD2one/Nero
- DVD9: Decrypter/DVDShrink/Nero
- DVD5: Decrypter/Nero

- Suggestions and buying advice
- LordSmurf's items for sale

- Blank media and quality FAQ
- Where to buy good media
- DVD-R vs. DVD+R vs. DVD-RAM

- Making DVD cases in Photoshop
- Where to buy DVD storage supplies

- Request new guides
- Submit your own guides
- Error reporting and updates

- Apex playing problems
- ATI installation and ATI MMC
- Uncooperative DVD burners

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- Find television shows, cartoons, DVDs and Blu-ray releases at the TVPast forums.
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03-23-2014, 05:26 AM
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admin admin is offline
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Just in time for the (belated) 10th anniversary story coming soon.

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04-01-2014, 12:09 PM
Winsordawson Winsordawson is offline
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Surprised waybackmachine didn't copy it.
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04-01-2014, 12:16 PM
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lordsmurf lordsmurf is offline
Site Staff | Video
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 10,682
Thanked 1,867 Times in 1,616 Posts
Wayback was actually blocked. The crawlers back then were abusive to the server resources.

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- Find television shows, cartoons, DVDs and Blu-ray releases at the TVPast forums.
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